radiologist workflow

 April 13, 2023

When sorting through your to-do list, it’s human nature to save the worst tasks for last. Radiologists are no different. As the queue of pending reads stacks up and the radiologist workload grows, the more routine, simple reads on the worklist are completed first.

But this process of worklist cherry-picking can create major workflow problems at the end of the day, when all that’s left is a list of complex, time-consuming cancer reads. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the problem of worklist cherry-picking in radiology practices – and explain how AI Metrics can help lighten your radiologist workload.

Why Do Radiologists Put Off Cancer Reads?

In our work with radiologists, we consistently hear about avoiding cancer reads. As a result, these MRI and CT studies are rarely a priority on anyone’s worklist. Here are a few reasons why:

They’re time-consuming. While the average chest or abdomen CT read can be completed in 10 minutes or less, complex cancer scans take twice as long. To avoid these time-sucking tasks, radiologists tend to leave them on the worklist – in hopes someone else will take it first.

They don’t pay well. Although cancer reads may take twice as long, they don’t pay twice as much. When a time-intensive cancer read is compensated at the same rate as a simple scan, there’s little incentive to complete it.

They impact productivity. A radiologist’s productivity is measured in relative value units (RVUs). For most radiologists, this metric is directly tied to productivity bonuses. But since cancer reads aren’t worth more RVUs than other scans, completing them can actually drive down productivity metrics.

They’re complicated. Cancer reads require a specialized level of input and expertise. If a general radiologist doesn’t complete these types of reads on a daily basis, that can also make them an intimidating task.

They’re not urgent. When cancer reads appear on the worklist, a radiologist knows the job is not typically related to an emergent need. Yet another reason to put off the job they didn’t want to do anyway.

The Problem With Uncleared Worklists

As we all know, putting off work only delays the inevitable. And avoiding cancer reads doesn’t change your radiologist workload: These reads eventually need to be completed.

In most radiology practices, a worklist must be cleared before the end of a shift. But when you put off the hardest jobs for last, you’re left with a stack of complex cancer reads. This creates even more problems.

Radiologists end up working longer hours to clear the worklist, forcing them to stay after hours or log-in from home to finish the job. And relationships with customers or image centers can be put at risk when reads take longer than expected. 

The stress of it all leaves radiologists constantly feeling like there’s too much work, and not enough time to complete it. Not only does a heavy radiologist workload impact job satisfaction – but it’s also a contributing factor to widespread radiologist burnout.

Stop Worklist Cherry Picking With AI Metrics

At AI Metrics, we’ve developed a solution to the problem of worklist cherry-picking. How? By creating a powerful new tool that leverages artificial intelligence to cut cancer read times in half.

When a radiologist uses AI Metrics, he or she benefits from guided, structured workflows designed by leading radiologists and researchers with a deep knowledge of best practices for advanced cancer reads. The system automatically measures each tumor target, applies all the prior labeling information, and calculates the percentage changes. In addition to drastically reducing read times, this AI guidance can train radiologists on best practices – helping them navigate even the most complex reads with confidence. 

Not only does our software cut cancer read times in half, but a multi-institutional study validated 25% more accurate reads and a 58% improvement in inter-observer agreement. And to top it off, AI Metrics saves time on reporting – by seamlessly and automatically generating patient reports with no effort required by the radiologist.

By adding AI Metrics to your radiologists’ toolbox, you can change the way they approach cancer reads – and finally put an end to worklist cherry-picking.

Cut Cancer Read Times in Half

To learn how you can improve the efficiency and accuracy of cancer reads, schedule an AI Metrics software demo today.